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The eyes that she cast on me, that night when Tol Sirion was lost, were void of warmth. No love lay in her heart. But even so she still extended her hand to me, to where I lay, wounded and alone at the jetty and hoping - waiting for a boat to come rescue me. My own comrades had forsaken me. My own family.

"Come, " she beckoned, unsmiling. "Come with me. Or would you rather know the agony of the prowling wolf's game?"

I took her hand, though I knew I should not. I knew I should have faced the wrath of the wolf's jaws and claws rather than this terrible creature of such elusive motive - of such unknown intent. Who was she? I beseeched her of her name as she bore me up in her arms and flew us back to the tower - that tower that was no longer my home, but seemingly was to be my home once again.

"Thuringwethil," she told me, and from close quarters I saw then that she was a vampire for her teeth were not square and even, but fanged like the beasts that howled below us. Her eyes were black and old - deep with many years. She was older than were the fathers of my race, the Firstborn. She looked at me without passion. I looked away.

After we had arrived on the balcony of her apparent quarters and she had tended to my injury, I quickly discovered her purpose in claiming me. I was her food. Nothing more, nothing less, and when I was not lying with her fangs deep in my veins, she let me be. Alone. Usually asleep in an almost dead faint from how she weakened me.

"If you despise me so much," she would tell me when I sometimes tried to refuse her touch - sometimes in terror at something I had witnessed from the balcony, or simply despair at the futility of my life, "you may escape. There are three exits - the door, which is locked from the inside, and the balcony. The last is that you strike me in my sleep, but they will hear my screams. All lead to death."

Too frightened, too terrified of the fate of the Houseless and of the pain of death, I chose neither exit, and when next she returned to me, she stroked my hair and told me, with kisses to my face, how dearly she approved of my decision. And from that day on, whenever she found me despairing or in grief, she would hold me, even though her eyes remained cold towards me.

"I do not love you," she told me one day when I questioned her on her willingness to hold me to her breast. As she brushed away the tears on my cheeks with her callused thumbs, she added, "but you calm when I hold you, your tears fade, and sometimes you even smile at me."

When I heard that, I cried anew for her words spoke true - truer than I wished to know. For now it occurred to me that I loved her. And as I realised this, I saw already that I was bound to her. Not only by the physical webs by which she had successfully entrapped me, but also by my own heart. And I clasped her to me and wept, pressed frightened kisses to her cold pale face.

Later, much later, when I had become as used to my new life as I might ever be, I often occupied myself with dreams. As I lay alone in her bed, I dreamed that she was lying to me. I dreamed that she really did love me, but could not express herself for fear of her master's wrath. Perhaps, I liked to think, this was why she kept me and cared for me, in spite of the fact that there were other slaves available to her - larger slaves - with more blood in their veins than my own. Perhaps, I thought, when she held me at night with her face close to my nape, it was not my blood and body that she dreamed of, but all of me: my spirit and my body all.

The night that Sauron lost mastery of the isle, summoned by her master, she kissed my brow, rose from my side, and flew from the window. She said nothing to me and as always, there was no emotion in her face. She ignored my pleas for her to stay with me.

I did not see her die; I did not wish to look. Instead, when I heard the screams and cries of the wolves and that terrible and beautiful half-elven voice, I cowered in Thuringwethil's bed. Terrified. I believed all was lost and I wept for both sides.

But most of all, I wept for Thuringwethil.

Coward as I was, I did not move from that bed. Not even when the tower began to shift and crumble about me. I wanted to die with her.

The halls of Mandos are oddly comforting; not at all like the tales that my family whispered to me when Tol Sirion was still blessed with the mirth of my folk. I take delight in the silence, in the deathly chill.

It reminds me of her bloodless embrace, which when warm, is only so because of my blood. That blood that she took into her veins. That blood that I gladly shared and would have shared with her to the ends of this world and beyond.

I was supposed to leave these halls long ago, but I have not. Instead, I sit near the doors and wait. No family members or friends of mine are here now; they have left the silence and the darkness and the cold to restart their own lives. It is as it was when we first met; I am once more in the dark. I have been once more, forsaken. Perhaps even by her.

But the internment of Morgoth's allies and servants is far longer than that of elves. So I will still wait. I will still hope.

Because I believe she loves me.
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